Sep 17, 2014
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Grazing the Net

RSS By: Greg Henderson and Friends, Beef Today

Our editors spend some time roaming the web looking for stuff cattle people and others in agriculture might find useful or entertaining. 

Are We "Brainwashing" Kids?

Sep 16, 2014

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is in hot water for ... well, supporting agriculture. In the state that has the most cows and produces the most beef, Staples has been criticized because he took a stance against schools in his state adopting "Meatless Monday."

FOX News agrees with Staples and thinks we should stop "brainwashing" kids with the Meatless Monday nonsense.

Grist, however, says Staples "freaked out." Maybe that's because the Monday menu at one Texas school included "vegetarian chili."

Hmmm… vegetarian chili. Wouldn’t that just be bean soup?

Weird News

That smell you sense coming from the west is not a feedlot. It's Ojai, Calif., native Cody Creighton who hasn't showered in 60 days. And he doesn't plan on doing so for at least another two months. It's his attempt to draw attention to California's historic drought and encourage other folks to conserve water.

But Creighton is not the craziest Californian we discovered this week. That title belongs to Annie Preece, a Los Angeles woman who is threatening to defecate in the yards of people who let their dogs poop in her yard.

China Invests Down Under

China is making investments in Australian agriculture. A Chinese company recently purchased the Elizabeth Downs cattle station, a 500,000 acre ranch that sold for $11.5 million, plus an undisclosed amount for 9,000 head of cattle.

Many northern Australian cattlemen are hoping the arrival of the Chinese company will open doors for the entire industry.

Two Chinese investment groups have established a $3 billion fund to invest in Australian agriculture, as Australia edges closer to securing a free trade deal with China.


Cattle Feeding Margins Exceed $230

Cattle feeders saw profit margins improve last week despite slightly lower cash cattle prices. That’s because their costs continued to decline. Last week was the third consecutive weekly increase for cattle feeding margins, and hog producers also saw their profits increase last week.

Knee-Deep in Pig Manure

Sep 15, 2014

We just learned about this new ag-related job description: sustainability consultant. What, pray tell, is that? Rebecca Thistlethwaite claims to be one, and along with a B.S. in Natural Resources Management and a M.S. in International Agricultural Development and Agroecology, she claims to "have a holistic understanding of the human and ecological dimensions of the food system." She gives "bootstrapping" seminars to aspiring new farmers – mostly telling them farming is not the idyllic, stress-free life they envision. She tries to prepare farmer wannabes for "standing knee-deep in pig manure."

Vaccine Wars

What the hell are they thinking? Nearly 10% of school-age children living in Hollywood, Calif., attendance areas are not being immunized against childhood diseases.

California law allows parents to file Personal Belief Exemptions (PBE) so they don't have to vaccinate kids before sending them to school, leaving some school's vaccination rates on a par with South Sudan. The result is exactly what you would expect – there's a near-epidemic of whooping cough, measles and other diseases in Southern California. The epicenter of this anti-vaxx stupidity is the affluent Westside – where kids attend exclusive, entertainment-industry-favored child care centers, preschools and kindergartens. One "alternative-friendly" doctor is fueling the anti-vaxx fire.

Cowboy College

More than 130 cowboys from 17 states attended Beef Today's first Cowboy College last week in Omaha. The two-day educational program was designed specifically for feedlot cattle crews – processing teams, cowboy doctors and others involved in the day-to-day care and welfare of beef feedlot animals.

Risk Ranch App

Cattle feeding is not for the faint of heart. The market is prone to volatile swings up and down, and many fortunes have been made and lost. If you need a cattle feeding fix, but don't want the financial risk, there's a new app just for you. The CME group and 4-H developed a game called Risk Ranch that you can download for free. The game is designed to help folks better understand agriculture by moving through the process of raising a cartoon steer for market.

Meat Isn't the Problem

Sep 12, 2014



By special guest blogger Steve Cornett, Beef Today editor emeritus

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples' op-ed opposing yucky food Mondays in Texas schools succeeded primarily in stirring the next of the media's anti-meat hornets. Here's what they're buzzing about:

Grist: Texas Freaking Out About School 'Meatless Monday'

Slate: No, 'Meatless Monday' is Not an Evil Vegetarian Plot

The Slate article is particularly wrong-headed, including this attempt to blame diabetes on meat:
"This is a message that kids should be receiving. According to the 2011 National Survey of Children's Health, nearly one-third of American kids are either overweight or obese, a classification linked to Type 2 diabetes and myriad other health problems."

It would be nice if more reporters knew more. May we suggest they look at the graphs in this article. Haven't any of these folks noticed that the more they've scared Americans away from meat, the fatter Americans have become?

Checkoff Challenge

A group of groups is asking Secretary Vilsack to do one of those administrative executive order deals to lock the National Cattlemen's Beef Association away from the beef checkoff trough.

Desliming Pink Slime

Newsweek has a loooong piece offering some faint praise to beef's food safety record.

Don't Drink Whisky

Save it! That would seem to be the lesson offered by this CNN piece. If only we had known.

More of Steve's Finds

Organic Growth

The organic food business continues to grow.

He Apparently Had No Shovel

But it was ok. You don’t have to—legal-wise, at least—hide the evidence in Texas. Neighbor-relations wise, maybe not so much.

Feral Cows in Paradise

This guy would seem to have the best job in the world.

Cleaner Waters

They're finding fewer pesticides in the water. So there's a fat chance EPA will back off.

Gross Hamburger

This website calls this hamburger "gross" and we have no defense.

Seeking an Anonymous Spitter

This steakhouse wants to know which of its former employees was spitting in the food. Seems a fair request, no?

O Boy! Another Day, Another Pro-Protein Study

Sep 11, 2014

By special guest Steve Cornett, Beef Today editor emeritus

There has been a spate of studies lately that seem to question the (now-outdated?) conventional wisdom about avoiding red meat. This one finds a strong correlation between protein consumption and lower blood pressure. It's getting pretty good press. And despite the historically high prices right now, folks are still buying up beef.

*Sigh* Another Day, Another Attack on Cows

One of the good things about the good nutrition news is that it takes away one of the weapons in the evangelizing vegans' arsenal. Note the last paragraph in this poorly-sourced piece.

A Couple of New Fronts in the War on Public Lands Ranchers

The Farm Bureau is trying to protect public lands water rights and New Mexico ranchers are suing to let their cows share the land with the mice.

Senators to FTC: Make China Take Our GMO

For a country with such lax consumer protection and such a big dependence on trade, China seems awful cheeky with its protectionism. One group of Senators has had enough of it.

More of Steve's Finds

Cliven Bundy Gets Political

So Cliven Bundy calls and wants to endorse your campaign. What do you say? No thanks, too milita-esque for me? Or, yes, please. Bring the guns.

A Failure to Communicate

In case you missed it on Agweb yesterday, it turns out that we think differently than consumers about animal welfare.

Your tax dollars ...

This research indicates that Zebu cows get antsy when they think their calves are in trouble, no matter which way their nose hair whorls. Uh, didn’t we know that?

The House Tilts the EPA Windmill

Sep 10, 2014

By special guest Steve Cornett, Beef Today editor emeritus

It's going nowhere in the Senate and even nowhere-er with the President, but the House of Representatives is on record as wanting to "Ditch the Rule."

It makes agriculture happy, and maybe it will exert a bit more pressure on the Administration to hold off. Until after the elections, at least.

Nature May Hate a Vacuum, But Competitors Love It

You'll recall that Argentina's deadbeat government recently announced a ban on beef exports. It didn't take long for their customers to find new sources.

In the same vein, Russian ag producers expect to prosper thanks to the sanctions we're hoping will hurt.

Again, Again: GMO Feeds are OK

More evidence that GMO feeds pose no problem. No wait, let's say that louder so the activists can hear: MORE EVIDENCE THAT GMO FEEDS POSE NO PROBLEM.

Really Cool Bird Graphic

Audubon reports that climate change is not expected to be kind to many species of birds and the map alone is worth the time it takes to read about it. Find your favorite bird and see how he will do.

More From Steve

Next, We Set Aside Part of D.C. as a Rat Refuge

Utah ranchers are leery of a plan for a prairie dog sanctuary.

For the Little guy

Mother Earth News shares a link to a group that aims to connect small producers with buyers.

More Protein, Please

This dude tracks consumer sentiment for a living and he says his desire for more protein and fewer carbs is pretty much a popular opinion these days.

Your tax dollars ...

Thanks to evolving technology and a lot of USDA's money, Iowa has a new cellulosic ethanol plant.

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